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Kandahar gathering lends weight to new US strategy

Kandahar gathering lends weight to new US strategy

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Aug 26, 2017 - 18:34

KANDAHAR (Pajhwok): Residents of the southern zone held a huge gathering in southern Kandahar province on Saturday, declaring their support for the new US strategy for Afghanistaninfo-icon and South Asia.

Religious scholars, tribal elders, politicians, youth and common people from Kandahr, Helmand, Zabul and Uruzgan provinces took part in the mammoth gathering.

The participants mostly targeted Pakistaninfo-icon in their speeches and demanded destruction of terrorists’ safe havens in the neighbouring country. They also called on the Afghan Talibaninfo-icon to cut off ties with Pakistan.

Lawmaker Lalai Hameedzai said Pakistan had been supporting the conflict in Afghanistan to make sure her interests were protected.

He said Pakistan was the ‘epicenter’ of terrorism where insurgents were being trained in 70,000 seminaries in different parts of the country.

Daud Gulzar, a tribal elder from Zabul province and presidential advisor, said the US and the worldinfo-icon finally recognized Pakistan’s ‘dual faced policy.’

Mohammad Karim Atal, head of the Helmand provincial council, said the US should extend the war on terror to Pakistan and eliminate terrorists there.

He invited the Taliban for talks and said they should know Pakistan was using them as proxies.

The gathering passed a resolution welcoming the US new policy and demanded its quick implementation.

The resolution said Afghanistan wanted durable and continued cooperation with the US.

Announcing the new strategy, President Donald Trump has ruled out a hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, as he put Pakistan on notice for supporting terrorist groups.

 “A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum for terrorists, including ISIS and Al Qaida, would instantly fill just as happened before September 11,” said the president.

“A core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. I've said it many times how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin or end military options,” Trump added.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said America's interests were clear. The safe havens that enabled terrorists to threaten America must be shut down, he stressed.

nh/ma

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